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  • Impact of allied TD's?

    How much impact did the M10/M18/M36 have on the battlefield? The German TD's were quite effective but the allied had different thoughts as they used open top turrets on a tank chassie thus haveing a higher profile than most of the German counterparts that did very well in defensive combat. But the allied combat was on the other hand offensive. The Achilles (British M10 with a 17pdr) had an potent gun but it still had a high profile.

    So just how much impact did they have on the battlefield?
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  • #2
    Originally posted by McCoy View Post
    How much impact did the M10/M18/M36 have on the battlefield? The German TD's were quite effective but the allied had different thoughts as they used open top turrets on a tank chassie thus haveing a higher profile than most of the German counterparts that did very well in defensive combat. But the allied combat was on the other hand offensive. The Achilles (British M10 with a 17pdr) had an potent gun but it still had a high profile.

    So just how much impact did they have on the battlefield?
    My understanding is that they were quite beneficial. The extra power of the larger guns added a lot of firepower. IIRC, they were also added to infantry divisions, which would not have had tanks in support unless attached from the outside.
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    • #3
      That would have been a great addition to the ID's. I wasn't aware that TD's vere deployed in ID's and not in conjunction with 'em. The grunts must have loved 'em.
      The safest place in Korea was behind a platoon of Marines. Lord how they could fight! - MGEN Frank Lowe, U.S. Army.
      ----
      We got a kinder, gentler, Machine gun hand - N.Y.

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      • #4
        I would say it depended on the area the Tank Destroyers were in. The advantage the TDs had over antitank guns was their mobility. They also tended to be very thin skinned and would bug out more quickly than tanks when the arty and mortars started falling. I would have liked to see the 17 pounder in an assault gun role on a turretless vehicle. You could make sure the vehicle had more armor and it would be harder to hit. The same thing in a 90mm gun would also have been interesting.

        Pruitt
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        • #5
          Doctrinally a dead end. It is most revealing that the US Army disbanded them all very shortly after the war ended.

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          • #6
            Didn't the British put the 17pdr in the Archer?
            The safest place in Korea was behind a platoon of Marines. Lord how they could fight! - MGEN Frank Lowe, U.S. Army.
            ----
            We got a kinder, gentler, Machine gun hand - N.Y.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by McCoy View Post
              Didn't the British put the 17pdr in the Archer?
              Yes but it had no roof and was open to small arms, arty fire. I think the Sherman Firefly was a better use of vehicle and gun.

              Pruitt
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              Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

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              • #8
                Yeah, I agree that the Firefly was much better use of the potent gun as the Sherman realy was a perfect platform for the gun.
                The safest place in Korea was behind a platoon of Marines. Lord how they could fight! - MGEN Frank Lowe, U.S. Army.
                ----
                We got a kinder, gentler, Machine gun hand - N.Y.

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                • #9
                  The major impact was that 75+ mm gun armed AFVs could be parceled out to advancing infantry without breaking up large tank formations.

                  So you get two tanks and four TDs assigned to an infantry unit where you would otherwise have to either let the infantry go unsupported or rip three times as many tanks out of larger tank units.

                  Don't underestimate the psychological effect of tanks and tank-like vehicles. For the conscript German wannabe-company defending a village it makes a huge difference if tracked gun-armed vehicles roll in. It doesn't make one bit of a difference whether it's a tank or TD or SP artillery or whatever.

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                  • #10
                    Parceling out the TDs went against their doctrine and training, but the vehicles and crews did prove themselves as tank destroyers, assault guns, indirect-fire artillery, and reconnaissance forces.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DogDodger View Post
                      Parceling out the TDs went against their doctrine and training, but the vehicles and crews did prove themselves as tank destroyers, assault guns, indirect-fire artillery, and reconnaissance forces.
                      The TD doctrine was not very good anyway. Most US commanders seem to have decided to abandon it even before they arrived in Europe. The idea of keeping the TD battalions seperate from the infantry and to the rear in brigades or groups under the control of the corps or army commander did not work very well in training exercises in the US. It left the infantry divsions with only a few dozen light AT guns in the regimental AT companys.

                      This was the same as keeping the independant tank battalions 'pooled' in groups back in the rear somewhere. It looked good on paper, but caused all sorts of complications in large scale manuvers. While it remained "Official Doctrine" the actuall battlefield practice in Europe was quite different. Generally the independant tank battalions & TD battalions were assigned to a infantry divsion and reassigned only when necessary.

                      Remember that the typical German armored divsion was usually understrength. So a US Infantry divsion with its TD and tank battalion had more medium size armored vehicals than the average panzer divsion of 1944-45.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                        The TD doctrine was not very good anyway. Most US commanders seem to have decided to abandon it even before they arrived in Europe. The idea of keeping the TD battalions seperate from the infantry and to the rear in brigades or groups under the control of the corps or army commander did not work very well in training exercises in the US. It left the infantry divsions with only a few dozen light AT guns in the regimental AT companys.

                        This was the same as keeping the independant tank battalions 'pooled' in groups back in the rear somewhere. It looked good on paper, but caused all sorts of complications in large scale manuvers. While it remained "Official Doctrine" the actuall battlefield practice in Europe was quite different. Generally the independant tank battalions & TD battalions were assigned to a infantry divsion and reassigned only when necessary.

                        Remember that the typical German armored divsion was usually understrength. So a US Infantry divsion with its TD and tank battalion had more medium size armored vehicals than the average panzer divsion of 1944-45.
                        Agreed.

                        Also there is a large amount of anecdotetal information out there that suggests that USA Inf. commanders tried to use American TD's the way German TD's were used against them, in the HE fire support role & assault role. The TD crews hated being used this way because they were exposed to small arms fire and subjected to mortar and panzerfaust/panzerschreck attacks. Not a very good thing when your vehicle has no top and your turret has only a few mm's of armor.
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                        • #13
                          The thinking behind the TD branch was pretty good IMO. They looked at the German success in '39-'41 concluded that it mostly came from a concentrated mass of tanks and decided the best counter was a concentrated mass of tank destroyers. Of course actual events didn't proceed like that but nevertheless the TDs adapted and did well.

                          Harry Yeide's recently published book on 'Tank Destroyers' will be an excellent source.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Redwolf View Post
                            Don't underestimate the psychological effect of tanks and tank-like vehicles. For the conscript German wannabe-company defending a village it makes a huge difference if tracked gun-armed vehicles roll in. It doesn't make one bit of a difference whether it's a tank or TD or SP artillery or whatever.
                            I wish I still had copies, but I read a couple of unit histories from Southern France in 1944.

                            First was the American commander, who was moving northwards against light opposition. Finally the Germans turned to fight. He was hitting them hard, according to his report, when the Germans employed armor against him. Rather than slug it out, he maneuvered around them and continued north.

                            Then the German history. The commander's troops were running away and he was willing to do anything to make them stand and fight. He found an old French tank on an airfield with no main gun ammo, and had someone run it around in front of his troops while they fought the Americans. He was shocked when the Americans backed off and left his alone.

                            Clearly, the impact of armor on both sides was significant.
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                            • #15
                              Also remember just about ANY German tank was identified as a Tiger tank even if it was 'just' a Mk. IV.
                              Last edited by RichardS; 15 Nov 07, 17:26.
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